But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. -Jeremiah 17:7,8

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Kasua NT Dedication

On October 26, 2017, the Word of God came to the Kasua people in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. The Kasua population is located in 8 main villages, covering almost 1000 square miles, and consists of approximately 600 people. The Musula village is very remote, with no roads leading in or out, making it accessible only by air—in fact the airstrip took 7 years to build, using only hand tools to carve it out of the jungle.

My friends Tommy and Konni Logan worked for 27 years in the Musula village to complete the Kasua translation. In addition to translating, they taught literacy classes, helping the people learn to read their own language. The Logans first moved into the village when their oldest daughter Rachel was only 3 months old—their youngest daughter Laura was born 3 years later. The Logans are my heroes in the faith!

When we arrived, we were immediately greeted by a "singsing"—singing and dancing Kasua people in their traditional dress.  We were each ceremoniously given a string bag (and also a Lei) called a bilium, which is made from natural plant fibers. When all 3 of the planes missionaries and guests had arrived, the procession for the Kausa New Testament began. There was much singing and dancing, and we were honored to be part of the prosession, carrying the boxes of Bibles from the plane to the village.
Being greeted at the Musula Village

Unloading the Bibles from the plane.
Escorting us to the village.

Leading the singsing.
Then the speeches began…all 15 of them!   Three hours later, the boxes containing the Kasua New Testaments were opened, along with more singing and dancing!

Finally, after the speeches concluded, the New Tes
taments and the Audibibles (for those who couldn’t read) were available for sale. It was wonderful to see men, women and children excitedly open their Bibles for the first time as well as listen to Scripture read to them in their own language on the Audibible.

Late in the afternoon, came the mumu! They had killed 11 wild pigs and smoked the meat (wrapped in banana leaves) which was laid on top of hot rocks, placed in a pit in the ground, and then covered over with dirt to cook. Wild boar along with sago
—what a feast!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pigs and Sheep

To the Kasua people of Western Province, Papua New Guinea, every four-legged animal is a pig. They call a horse a pig-horse, a cow, a pig-cow, and a sheep, a pig-sheep, because all of these animals have four legs, which is kopolo, or pig, in their language.

When the translation team would translate the word, ‘sheep’ in the New Testament, they would translate it as ‘pig-sheep’. So when Jesus is referred to as the ‘Lamb,’ (John 1:29; Rev. 12:11; Rev. 17:14), they translated as ‘pig-sheep’ so that in John 1:29 it would read: “Behold, the pig-sheep of God.”

When some members of the translation team attended the Translators Training Course in Ukarumpa, they had the opportunity to observe and study sheep for the first time. As they watched and learned more about the animals’ behavior, their understanding of these creatures—and God’s Word—rotated on its axis.

Once during the course, Tommy and Konni Logan (the translation team’s advisors) were driving with the team to a Bible dedication when Amos, one of the team members, said passionately, “We can’t use the word kopolo in front of the word, ‘sheep’! Pigs know when they’re about to die and squeal and scream.” The team had often watched villagers tie up pigs so they wouldn’t escape.

“But,” Amos said, “Jesus didn’t do that.” The team had learned that sheep are quiet and still when death walks toward them. They had observed, as they translated the New Testament, the words of Isaiah 53 fulfilled: “Like a lamb led to the slaughter, he did not open his mouth.” And now they understood what it meant. For this reason, the team decided not to put pig-sheep in the New Testament for the word ‘sheep,’ but used sheep-animal or, in their language, a:pele sipi.

The Kasua translation team also chose to discard the word ‘pig’ before sheep because pigs are unclean animals to the Jews. The team knew that Jesus was called the ‘Lamb of God’ in the New Testament to show that he is unblemished and clean. Hopefully the Lord will open up the Kasua villagers’ eyes to these same truths about Jesus as they read of Him in their own language.

The Color Purple

The Kasua people of Western Province in Papua New Guinea have no word for the color purple. They have words for many other colors: black, red, white, yellow, green, and blue, but not for the color of royalty.

About nine New Testament passages mention people placing a purple robe on Jesus. The Kasua translation team always wanted to use the word ‘red,’ or ‘keyalo,’ to describe the robe. My friend Tommy Logan, one of the translation team advisors, disagreed because this is not historically accurate or signifies the royalty of Jesus.

One of the main rules of translation is that the team must stick to the historical facts when they translate a passage. If they don’t, then how can the readers trust what they’re reading is true? Other questions about truth could bubble in the reader’s minds about the Scriptures. For this reason, Tommy was not willing to change the word purple. So the team hung up the problem, hoping to revisit it later with more inspiration.

God did not disappoint.

Years later, Tommy hiked with some of the men near their village. They saw a tree that possessed bulbous growths growing on the side of it like fruit. These growths were “the most beautiful color of purple I’d ever seen,” explained Tommy.

“What is the name of this tree?” Tommy asked the men.

“This is an Okani tree,” they replied.

Tommy suggested, “Why don’t you, in those passages where we’ve been struggling to translate the color purple, use ‘they put a robe on Jesus the color of the fruit of the Okani tree’?

“Yeah. We know exactly what color that is,” the men said enthusiastically.

Everyone in their village would also visualize this phrase accurately, as the Okani tree is the only tree in that area that produces this kind of purple growth. So now, among the Kasua people, in his royal purple robe, Jesus is shown to be the king that he is.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Garasa Village Visit

Steven Ttopogogos, (BTA’s Morobe Province Language Program Coordinator) asked SIL to send someone to the Garasa village for five days to film the Waria Multi-Lanugage Project Conference. Since none of our regular videographers were available, I was elected.

After the SIL Kodiak plane dropped me off at the grass airstrip in Garasa, we were given a lei and then led from the airstrip to the meetinghouse by a singsing. 

Garasa singsing  (https://vimeo.com/134672811)

They stopped and allowed me to pose with them for a picture, but I don’t think my dance moves would have cut it!

I learned to bathe in the river and to use the outhouse they built just for me!

I also learned to eat kaukau—their staple diety each day consisted of cooked banana, taro, rice, noodles and a cooked green vegetable. One day they killed and cooked a pig, and then we had a little meat to go along with the cooked vegetables.

Most of the time I was kept busy taking pictures of the conference. 

The Guhu-Saman had a New Testament translation in 1982 but the language has changed quite a bit since then and most of the younger generation no longer speak that way. They needed to find out if it needed a revision, and also if three other related languages Kunimipa, Amam, and Weri need a translation (thus a Multi-Language project), or do they just need an Audibible and oral Bible stories.

At the end of five days when we were ready to leave, the singsing led us back down to the airstrip and the ladies gave us bilums (shoulder bags) as a way of thanking us for coming. 

It was indeed a wonderful, and stretching experience, and God provided exceedingly more than I could ever ask or imagine!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Big Change Happening

Soti, one of the primary Bible translators in the Konai language project, paused in the middle of a translation discussion with his colleagues. An evangelist at heart, who had spent several years in Bible school, Soti was a passionate member of the translation team, who worked on the project for twenty years with Sören and Britten, the Konai translation advisors. “This is better than any Bible school!” he exclaimed, “This is really fantastic! Translation really teaches us what God’s Word says!”

On the 5th of April, Easter Sunday, after twenty years of labor by over fifty people, the Konai New Testament was dedicated in Western Province amid great joy, excitement, and singing. Despite the morning’s rain, many people attended the celebration, with many traditional songs, dances, and speeches. Several of the Konai youth also read the Easter story aloud, demonstrating that the Konai language can easily be read. T-shirts and certificates were handed out to the many people involved in the project. One of the translators, David, faithfully translated everything spoken in English or Tok Pisin, Papua New Guinea’s trade language, into Konai so that everyone could understand.

Before coming to advise the Konai language group, Sören and Britten had worked for 20 years with the Ama language group in the Sepik and dedicated the Ama New Testament in 1990. As a result, the Ama and the Konai felt a shared connection which was demonstrated throughout the day as the Ama language group sent some people to support the Konai. Together, both the Konai translators and the Ama representatives prayed over the Bible and helped hand out the Bibles that were sold.

“While I’ve been a part of this work of translation, I’ve seen a big change happen in my community.” commented David, “God has been using the Bible to change our lives in this place!”   —from thePNGexperience

Friday, March 27, 2015

His Wondrous Deeds

As I have now been here in Ukarumpa now for three full weeks, the first thing that I noticed is how people from seventeen different countries are working together to seeing Papua New Guinea empowered by the written Word of God. Each person or family here, whether aircraft mechanic, pilot, IT worker, literacy worker, language surveyor, translator, or other type is supported and sponsored by churches and individuals in their home countries, who are also committed to this same goal. It is but a small picture of the many members of the body of Christ working together, each with different gifts that the Apostle Paul talks about in Romans 12.
But this time has also given me a chance to look back and reflect on what God has been doing in my life. We never really get over our grief, but then again we are never really the same after we have passed through it. The joy that Christ alone gives, shines through our grief just like the sun shines through the clouds after a storm, revealing something beautiful.
The other day I read this poem, from Streams in the Desert, which beautifully reflects that thought.
And now my heart and I are sweetly singing–
Singing without the sound of tuneful strings;
Drinking abundant waters in the desert;
Crushed, and yet soaring as on eagle’s wings.”
During this past year, I have begun to feel God’s comfort and to experience closeness to and a hunger for God that I had never before known. I began to live in Psalm 42:1, 2 where David said, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God,” and God began to reveal Himself to me in new and wonderful ways, as I found my soul being refreshed by the abundant waters in the desert.
Listening to sermons this past year from Tullian Tchividjian, Scotty Smith, Steve Brown, and my own pastor Gary Ginn have reintroduced me to the Gospel of God’s inexhaustible grace and His one-way love toward me. The power of the gospel is just as necessary and relevant to us after we become Christians as it was before. We habitually look to someone, or something smaller than Jesus, or even in addition to Jesus, for the things we crave and need, and none of these things are ever large enough to fill that void.
But then God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, began showing me that because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross, my identity was not in myself, but was in Him! I love how in Psalm 66:16 the psalmist responds to the awesome deeds of the Lord, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” Rediscovering the Gospel has given me a new freedom—a freedom to be “nothing” because Jesus is “everything” and all because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, for me!
I no longer need to worry about being ordinary, because Jesus was extraordinary for me; I no longer have to worry about being weak, because Jesus was strong for me; I no longer need to worry about being a failure, because Jesus succeeded for me. My name is in Jesus’ name–my reputation is in Jesus’ reputation. What freedom that brings!
In 1997 with her first diagnosis of cancer, I marked Psalm 30:5 in my Bible, “Weeping may tarry for the night but joy comes with the morning.” I again marked that verse in January 2014, and while there is still sadness in my life, God is beginning to fulfill that promise, by bringing me unspeakable joy, which can only come in and through Him.
In Psalm 40:3, King David said “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” Amen!

Friday, March 6, 2015


This journey has been a long one for me, filled with many ups and downs, and now that it has finally come full circle and I am in a house in Ukarumpa, PNG, the emotions have flooded over me. There have been many events in my life that I could never understand the reason. Nine years ago, Lissie, John and I were headed for an assignment in PNG when God stepped in and stopped it at the very last moment. For years I tried to understand why that happened, but now the “why” no longer matters since God is sovereign, and His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts than my thoughts.

Elise had always wanted me to take her to New Zealand to see where I had been while in the Air Force, and I never was able to do that. She wanted so much to go and serve with me in PNG, and that never happened. And now in the last two weeks, I have seen both countries – alone.

Alone, but yet I’m not alone, because Christ has become more real to me now than ever before. He has given me the closeness to Him that I had always longed for.

Today I again said goodbye to Lissie, as I sprinkled some of her ashes in the land she wanted so much to visit. But this world is not my home, and while her loss is still painful, I have a promise that one day I see Him face to face, and He will wipe away all tears.